With an average list price of $414,563 for a four-bedroom, two-bathroom house1, Austin-area homes are the most expensive in the Lone Star State. Check out these money-saving tips to ensure you don't overstretch your budget when buying a home in Texas' capital city.
1. Build Your Savings
If you're considering purchasing a property, make sure you have enough money saved for the down payment, closing costs and additional expenditures associated with home ownership. If possible, try to save enough for a down payment that is 20 percent of the house's purchase price. A 20 percent down payment can prevent you from having to pay Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) and save you money over the life of your loan. A United Heritage mortgage specialist can work with you to determine the appropriate loan product and options.
However, don't drain your savings to reach that 20 percent down payment. You'll need additional funds for closing costs, which can be an additional 3 to 5 percent of the property's purchase price. More budgetary considerations include the increase (or decrease) in month utility bills, HOA dues and home insurance. Check out the United Heritage Home Affordability Calculator to estimate how much house you could comfortably afford.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Loan
Healthy financial planning entails knowing exactly what you can afford before you make a purchase. As you prepare to start shopping for a new home, make sure to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know exactly how much house you can buy. United Heritage Credit Union offers pre-approvals with no up-front costs on mortgage loans.
3. Choose the Right Real Estate Agent
A licensed real estate agent can help you save money and time when buying a home. It's best to talk to a variety of real estate agents to make sure you've found the one that's right for you – a good agent will communicate with you often and help you focus on homes that meet your specifications and are within your budget. Plus, homes are typically priced to account for a real estate agent's commission, so you likely won't spend any money directly on your agent for his or her services.
1Austin is Texas' most expensive housing market — and these suburbs aren't far behind